China @ Street Level – Mayang County, Hunan

For some, inflation is a happy problem and a necessary side dish to rapid economic growth. While the folks in some mega cities struggle to cope with inflation, others have a very different problem. Their cities are dead.

Mayang County 麻阳苗族自治县, some 400km west of the provincial capital city of Changsha, is an area populated mostly by the Miao people, a minority ethnic group in China. As you can see from the post-pandemic street scene, Mayang in March 2021 was not exactly a bustling town. There is even a guesthouse next to the train station charging only 10 yuan a night for a dorm bed. Mr Shi checked out the room. You can see for yourself what it’s like.

The “deluxe” room here is only marginally better. 10 or 20 yuan a night is ridiculously cheap. A short walk away is another guesthouse that charges 20-30 yuan a night. He didn’t ask to see the room.

At the time I first saw this video, it already had over 500,000 views. This is the raw truth. This is the real and highly representative China that most tourists have not seen or imagined. People here are not better off than they were 30 years ago. Property prices are still sky-high in a few areas in a few first tier cities. In may other places, the prices and demand for property have come tumbling down. Sadly, food is still in demand and supply is low. With inflation and no more food coupons to give out in the new capitalist economy, the folks at Mayang are probably even worse off than they were before.